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Don't confuse, Kalam is SP and TMC's candidate, says Mamata

Last updated on: June 15, 2012 12:32 IST
Unfazed by reports that Mulayam Singh Yadav may have a rethink on their joint proposal to pit APJ Abdul Kalam, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Friday said the former President is their presidential candidate.

"It is wrong information. I can say only this. He (Kalam) is our (TMC-SP) candidate in the presidential election. There is no ego, no quarrel, no fight," she told reporters seeking to dismiss persistent reports that the SP was no longer keen on backing Kalam.

The SP and TMC on Tuesday proposed Kalam, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Speaker Somnath Chatterjee as their candidates. On Thursday, Mamata declared that Kalam was their candidate. There were media reports on Friday that SP may be doing a rethink on Kalam.

The media reports were further beefed up by some interesting comments made by SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav that the words "hamara candidat" used by Mamata on Thursday for Kalam could mean both 'ours' and 'mine'.

Asked about Ram Gopal Yadav's comments, Mamata said, "Don't put Congress words into his mouth. Don't divide and rule. 'Hamara' means 'dono ka candidate' (candidate of both). My Hindi may be bad, that may be the reason for confusion."

Before leaving for Kolkata without attending the United Progressive Alliance meeting in New Delhi, Mamata said it was wrong to say that Mulayam Singh Yadav has gone back on their joint proposal.

Interestingly, Kiranmoy Nanda, SP leader from West Bengal told reporters after Mamata's briefing that "we stand by the decision taken by Mulayamji and Mamataji".

Mamata said whatever response they were getting for their proposal was good. "We stick to our three candidates. The Congress has rejected Manmohan Singh. It is their decision. We have another two candidates. Somnath Chatterjee is there. I talked to him," she said.

"The President's office is an important post. Don't divide and rule. All support Kalam. He is our candidate. Whatever we have announced we will stick to it," she said.

The West Bengal chief minister claimed that Kalam has said on Friday morning that he is contesting. "It is good. We thank him. We congratulate him in advance. Kalam is an asset. He can glorify India. He is a popular candidate. If there is a direct election to the presidential office like in America, he will be number one."

She said they have given a clarion call. "I will appeal again to all political parties to give your support to Kalam."

Mamata said she was leaving for Kolkata.

"I stayed in Delhi for two days. After the announcement of our presidential candidature we waited for 24 hours. Mulayamji and myself waited for 24 hours. The Congress rejected. However, response for Kalamji from other political parties is good," she said.

Asked about attempts by Congress to win over Mulayam, she said, "It is wrong. Kalam is our candidate. Why you are blaming Mulayamji? Whatever we do, we do together with Mulayam."

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